Trinidad and Tobago is the birthplace of chutney music and chutney soca, among other genres. It is home to the top chutney singers in the Caribbean and is spinning out new talent and new compositions daily. The artform is competitive and artistes go to extremes to compose their songs. There is no control over lyrics, except profanity. Lyrics are bold, laced with double entendre, most are centered around the female anatomy. Men sing aboout them and women respond likewise.
Lyrics are sometimes tasteless, erotic, meaningless or funny. And in few instances a song will emerge that carries a message or a story. Some may argue that chutney music is boring without a bit of eroticism. Or that it would not be chutney without such. Traditionally speaking, it evolved from a religious base. So when did the religious influence fall away from chutney music? Can anyone truly tell?
Chutney music is an evolving art, but how does one determine its value? How does a particular genre fit into a society that is constantly introducing new talent and new music. Where does one genre end and another begin, for instance, chutney music and chutney soca are like sybiotic twins, feeding off each other for survival with each artiste bending and breaking musical notes to suit their own appetite.
How many trebles of chutney to a soca note to produce the sweet chutney soca blend? I don’t know, but the blend is undeniably a heady sensation that invokes one action only-dance.